For more than 50 years, folks here in McDowell took their cars and trucks in need of repair to trusted and reliable mechanics who they knew would do the job well.
Now, Bud’s Garage is closed because the owner Ronnie Stevens has suffered some health problems. But he wants the public to know just how much he appreciates their support for his business.
The auto repair shop started in 1966 when his father Lloyd “Bud” Stevens opened Bud’s Garage on U.S. 70 East in Nebo. Ronnie graduated from Marion High the same year and went to work with his dad at that location.
Later, Bud’s Garage moved to another location closer to Marion beside the propane business on U.S. 70 East. In 1993, the business moved to 1387 Virginia Road in the Clinchfield community where it has remained ever since.
Over time, Ronnie would come to own the business. His brother Dean was a partner at one point. Typically, around three to four mechanics worked there repairing cars and trucks.
“Anything automotive we did it,” said Ronnie. “At one time, we had a wrecker service for large and small.”
During the past 52 years, Bud’s Garage built a good reputation of being honest and knowledgeable mechanics. “It’s probably one of the oldest garages in McDowell County,” said Ronnie.
But recently, he’s suffered some health problems. So at age 71, Ronnie Stevens felt it was time to close the business.
“After a while, you have to slow down,” he said. “Age takes its toll on everybody.”
The building with its four bays and an office and the business are on the market for sale now.
As he looks back on his 52 years, Ronnie says he will miss it very much. In recent years, he would find himself working on the cars owned by the children of his older customers.
“You miss talking to people,” he said. “A lot of friends were made through a 52-year period. I want to thank everybody for letting us work on their cars and service them. I made a lot of good friends.”